Brice Leverdez tells us how he balances his twin careers as France’s top-ranked badminton player and a top-end fashion entrepreneur

Like many athletes, badminton ace Brice Leverdez wondered what he might do when his playing career ended. Unlike many athletes, he didn’t wait until retirement to find a new vocation. The eight-time national champion and two-time Olympian has already set up Leverdez, a high-end fashion label based in his native Paris.

We spoke to Brice about the challenges of running a business while still competing – and what advice he might offer to any athletes thinking of following his example.

Understand what you want to do
“Some businessmen approached me in January 2014 proposing to create a brand using my name. But I didn’t like the concept, so my partner and I agreed to start our own company instead. I was getting older, and I saw it as a good way to move on in my life after my playing career was over.”

Don’t shy away from a challenge
“Everything is a challenge; from dealing with your partners to choosing the right strategy to learning about what other people’s jobs entail. These are the challenges of a start-up. You have some skills, but you need to learn so many different things to deal with everything.”

Work hard – both on and off the field of play
“I’m naturally hardworking. I work hard playing badminton, so nothing changed in my mentality when it came to my company. The main thing is working hard, never giving up on anything and being strong when making decisions.”

Keep control of your schedule
“I no longer practise at the national centre, so my schedule is very flexible. I’m in complete control: I can choose when to focus on badminton and when to focus on my business work. It’s much better that I’m on my own. I take care of all aspects of my training: I organise sparring sessions, I check my coaches’ availability, I book the courts. I then plan my business work around my badminton training.”

Take the plunge
“If you’re crazy enough to choose a sporting career as an athlete, you can definitely manage an entrepreneurial career. It’s a question of hard work and confidence. Just go for it – it’s fun!”

If you’re thinking about setting up a business and are looking for advice, take the course Business Start-Up: From Idea to Launch